The phrase “release early release often” is the most common one in the field of software development. However, an appropriate interpretation of this programming paradigm is equally essential. This makes it easy to understand the importance of the requests from customers regarding the handling of new features.
The influence of release management with reference to the development of open source software is also attached to this paradigm. The communities associated with open source software development may prefer either time-based or feature-based release strategies. Nevertheless, the importance of early and frequent releases is a well-established fact.
In this comprehensive guide, we are going to discuss software development and the impact of early and frequent releases.
Source Code Repository or Version Control System
Talking about software development, a source code is referred to as a collection of codes in the form of plain text. It is specially designed with a view to assisting a programmer by specifying certain actions that a computer should perform.
Generally, application software is available in a form offering executable files. The source code is helpful to a system administrator, programmer, and user or for those willing to modify or study the program.
A version control system is a source code repository containing files for computer programs. It provides monitored access, which means that every single change is tracked, showing why and who made the change. It also provides references regarding the introduction of enhancements or fixture of problems through such a change.
This process helps to maintain a controlled and well-managed process as well as an uncontrolled (first come first served) mechanism. It may also serve the purpose of due diligence during the final phase of a software development.
In fact, a source code repository, when used with open source projects, can allow for the reading and copying of project resources by the users. However, this option is available only for the authenticated users (committers), as they have the access to update the source code repository.
Continuous Integration (CI)
This is a development practice, which requires that a developer must integrate code within a shared repository several times in a single day. Through a regular integration, it would be easy to detect and locate the errors.
Continuous Integration saves money, whereas, not integrating on a regular basis can prove expensive. A failure to integrate continuously will make it quite difficult to find and fix the problems. If problems are left unchecked, it may amount to a delay or project failure.
Continuous Integration offers numerous benefits. Some of them are listed below.
- Helps to start with a solid foundation
- Minimizes the debugging period, allowing you to add more features
- Notifies the issues at an early stage
- On-time delivery of the project
Nearly all software developers communicate often with colleagues or clients. The communication is done mostly through writing, which may result in misinterpretations. This requires an improved version of team communication during software development. The lack of communication may serve as the main cause of major conflicts among the developers, working collectively on a particular project. This is simple when we are unable to understand each other, it is not possible to work and create something collectively.
A perfect communication between the team members is a basic thing, which allows them to identify issues at an early stage, find the solution and put forward innovative ideas. In addition, non-productive meetings should be avoided, as they do no good but slow the pace of work. Therefore, effective communication and collaboration are of great importance if you want to remain ahead of the competitors.
Software Configuration Management
SCM involves standard techniques and processes, which are often used by the organizations to tackle the alterations made to its software products. It helps to identify individual configurations and elements or track changes. Moreover, this process assists the developers in finding changes within a complex and large software system. The facility of version selection and version control adds value to this system. Some of the other advantages of software configuration management are mentioned below.
- Assists during communication among the team members
- Manages simultaneous updates effectively
- Assists in building management
- Minimizes redundant work
- Avoids configuration problems
As a whole, SCM helps you to save money by providing an effective communication among the team members. It also removes any misunderstanding, such as who is assigned what type of work. This ensures increased productivity and minimizes the overall cost of a project.
Test Driven Development and Its Importance
Being an evolutionary approach, Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a test-first strategy. This process involves the writing of a test code prior to writing a final production code. The basic goal of TDD is not validation but specification. This is what it is all about.
Further, this is a method to judge what your requirements are. This means that TDD helps to evaluate essential agile requirements as well as serve as an agile design technique. However, some view TDD as a programming technique. As in words of some programmers, TDD gives you the freedom to write a clean code, which actually works.
The first step associated with TDD is to simply add a test, which is enough for your code to fail. The next step is to run the tests, most probably a complete test suite. However, you can perform this test by running only a subset in accordance with the speed you may choose. Make sure that the new test does fail. After that, update the functional code and get it passed the new tests. As the last step, you need to run your tests repeatedly, until the tests pass.
The advantages of ‘Test Driven Development’ are mentioned here with a view to elaborate its importance.
- Minimizes bugs in existing features as well as new features
- Lowers change cost
- Offers design Improvements
- Assists refactoring
- Provides suitable defense against other programmers
- Hassle-free process
- Put development in top gear
- Increases overall productivity
- Reduces debugging time
- No need to check the errors manually
- Helps to maintain a focused approach
Deployment Phase- Why Deploy Early and Often
The deployment phase relates to a time when you are ready to deliver a product to the client. In fact, it may be considered as the last step of software development, if maintenance is not included in the deal. However, if you are associated with the maintenance, there is another step for you to complete, which is termed as a maintenance phase.
As far as the objective of deployment is concerned, the basic purpose of this phase is to make the newly developed software operational by putting it to test in a live environment. Such type of deployment is done only in an operational environment. This stage can be achieved only when the product is completely tested.